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Treating mastitis in cats: are antibiotics necessary?


Mastitis in cats is inflammation of the nipple, i.e. the teat. It affects some cat mothers in the first two weeks after birth and must be treated as soon as possible. Otherwise there is a risk of life-threatening blood poisoning. You can find out everything you need to know about inflammation of the eyes here. Young cat mothers can sometimes develop mastitis and then have to go to the vet immediately! - Shutterstock / Gray Carnation

If your cat has given birth, you should keep an eye on its teats. As a result of a milk jam, these can catch fire and cause mastitis in cats. This can be dangerous for both the mother animal and the kittens.

What is mastitis in cats and how does it come about?

The technical term for inflammation of the mammary glands (Greek "mastos") in cats is "mastitis". This is caused by bacteria, for example E. coli, streptococci or staphylococci. If the milk builds up in the breast, the bacteria can multiply there and trigger an inflammatory reaction.

There is often a milk jam and consequently inflamed teats if some kittens died shortly after birth and the remaining cubs cannot drink all the milk that the mother produces. However, mastitis can also occur in other circumstances. It is believed that the tiny claws of the kittens leave small injuries in the skin next to the teats. The bacteria can easily penetrate there. However, this alone cannot be the reason, because the inflammation of the eyes does not affect every cat mother.

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Suspected mastitis? When your cat has to go to the vet

The inflamed mammary glands are noticeable through swollen, reddened teats that feel hot. Your cat appears generally sick and exhausted, has a fever and pain in the inflamed areas. If you see these symptoms of mastitis in cats, you should not hesitate to take your cat to the vet.

With inflamed mammary glands, complications can arise if a purulent abscess forms on the teat. If this bursts, an open wound occurs. In the worst case, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and lead to life-threatening blood poisoning.

Cat mothers with mastitis often shed their kittens when they want to drink milk because it causes pain. For this reason too, rapid treatment is necessary so that the little ones are adequately cared for. If she lets them drink, the bacteria can pass on to the kittens. So you may have to raise the kittens with the bottle. In this case, your veterinarian will show you how.

Treating mastitis in cats: It doesn't work without antibiotics

Antibiotics are necessary to fight the inflammation causing bacteria. Cooling curd wraps can also provide relief and reduce swelling. If you follow your veterinarian's instructions on the dosage and duration of antibiotic treatment for your sick cat, you will usually recover quickly from mastitis. The active ingredients of the medication can pass into the milk, but they do not harm the kittens.

It gets more complicated when an abscess has formed. The veterinarian must cut open the abscess to remove the pus and rinse the wound with disinfectant solution. If the abscess has already destroyed the affected teat too much, it must be amputated. Then surgery is essential.